The Art of World Building

Creating a unique, immersive setting one idea at a time

Written with fantasy authors in mind but applicable to other genres and fields, The Art of World Building is a detailed guide to creating a fictitious setting, from the planet down to the blades of grass. It includes chapters on creating maps, cities, nations, cultures, military groups, history, plants, animals, species, gods, monsters, undead, the supernatural, a system of magic, magic items, famous artifacts and more. The books includes downloadable templates and discusses how much of each item to create, why, and approaches to doing so.

While Ellefson has built a new world for each story as authors often do, he has also spent decades building a single world. He shares his experiences, lessons learned, and insights into the process. Included are discussions on how much of your creations can realistically be mentioned during storytelling, how far authors should go, and what the benefits and risks to each approach might be. Practical, philosophical, and personal, the guide is a worthwhile read even for those who decide after reading it that they don’t want to build worlds after all.

The books have a website of their own at, a podcast, YouTube channel, and World Building University.

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